Thursday, September 29, 2016

33... A fresh start

Well, hello. It's me. I was wondering if after all these years months you'd like to meet. 

(Couldn't help myself, the song was too perfect.)

And this week, the week of my 33rd birthday (which is actually today), I wiped the slate clean. It's my fresh start.

I've said this several times before... here, and here, even here. I hate that I'm back in this place. I thought I'd said goodbye to this place a long time ago.

But here I am.

My fresh start, it has to be today, this week, because if not now, then when? Next week? Next month? Another 10 pounds from now?

I officially reset my starting weight at WW last Saturday. Six months ago I was 60 pounds down, then all hell broke loose and here I am, 40 pounds heavier (that was harder to type than I thought it would be.) At least I haven't regained it all? It was too deflating to see my "Total" so far removed from where I was in March, so I wiped it. (Plus, now I'll start getting rewards at meetings again, which are oddly motivating.)

I'm so uncomfortable in my own skin, acutely aware of my heaviness and the space I take up--again.

So here I am, a little beat up and worse for wear, but I have not given up. I am not giving up on myself. I've come too far on this journey to just throw in the towel. I may have taken a few steps backwards, but I'm still in this.

In the coming days, I'll share more of what I've been up to these last 3 months--no promises, of course, because it's evident I can't keep them.

Just know that I'm doing the best I can right now. 

P.S. I literally haven't opened Blogger since the last time I posted, so I have a lot of commenting and catching up to do. Don't be surprised if I respond to something that is months old :)

Monday, June 27, 2016

On faking it... a plan of action

Deep breath.

It's been a while, my friend.

I've missed you, but I've been away so long that I was ashamed to come back and let you see how I've fallen.

And then I realized, The longer I stay away, the further I fall.

So, I've come back, sheepishly, with my head down feeling a little embarrassed. Why do I feel embarrassed? Well, I've gained some <more> weight back. The last time I wrote, I was up about 13 pounds. I was doing okay, and then Ryan spent 6 days in the hospital with pneumonia (he's okay now) and it all went to hell. Now I've gone ahead and gained nearly 30 pounds (28.8 as of last Saturday's weigh in)--that's half the weight I'd ever-so-painstakingly lost over the course of 2 years.

All that work--poof. Up in smoke, just like that, in a matter of months.

I desperately want to get back "on the wagon," but I don't even know how. I feel like such a fraud, a failure, because I can't even practice what I preach.

I've started seeing Mary (my therapist) regularly again, though it feels different this time. Last time, when I started therapy, I was full of hope and determination. This time, I just feel sadness, and defeat. I know, I know it's one big self-fulfilling prophecy. I just can't get myself out of this hole.

My clothes are all tight and nothing fits me well, all this re-gained weight has gone straight to my midsection--the high point of this weekend was Karinne asking if there was a baby in my belly. (The rational part of my brain realizes she probably would have asked that just for fun, regardless of the size of my stomach, but the emotional part of my brain took it to heart and it definitely stung a little.) 

It's been a long time since I felt this negative about myself, my body, life in general. And it's a great big circle, because everything affects, well, everything. When I feel bad about myself, then I don't take care of myself (eat less healthy, bathe less), I don't take care of the house (dishes pile up, laundry piles up, living room is a war zone), and I don't take care of my family (stop cooking, watch more tv, interact less with kids, pay less attention to Marc).

Basically, this has to stop. I have to stop. The only way I know to do this is just to fake it til I make it. So, for starters, I'm going to do one good thing for myself every day--go for a walk, eat a salad, take a shower, blog--whatever it is, it has to be just for me.

I'm also going to return to tracking my food--for real. I've been logging into My Fitness Pal every day, but only to keep up my streak--I haven't actually logged my food in months. The good, the bad, the ugly, I'm tracking it all. Help me stay accountable and add me if you use it too--I'm "steeners"! 

 The third item on my new plan of action is that before I put any food into my mouth, I'm going to ask myself 3 questions: "Am I hungry?" "Do I really want this?" and "How does this contribute to my goals?"

I know I can do this, that this has just been a bit of a bump (hill? mountain?) in this journey, but I'm ready to get past it.

Here are some pictures of life over the last month!

The kids were off for a week between school ending and summer camp starting--we had fun!

The aquarium has a fountain outside that the kids love to play in, and it's perfect for cooling off on a sweltering day
Before Ryan was hospitalized; he was under the weather for a while and stayed home from camp one day
Hospital collage - Top left is the day he was admitted, and top right is the day before we went home
Me, today. Maybe not the most flattering picture, but it's reality. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Where to start?

So last time I posted, I said I was struggling.

I did, indeed, get my walk in that day--score!

After that, I was feeling good and things were looking up. Until April 25th, when I quit my job.

Yep, you read that correctly--I quit my "dream job" with Girls on the Run.

Without going into too much detail, let's just say that it wasn't a good fit for me. I learned a valuable lesson that sometimes, what you think will be your dream job turns out to be a nightmare.

Leading up to that day, I'd already started dreading going to work every day, and I'd gained 13 pounds. In a mere 6 weeks, I'd gained 13 pounds. Let that sink in. I went right back to my old binge eating "friend"--proving what I already knew, that you're never "cured" of an eating disorder, you just learn how to handle it and handle yourself without turning to food.

There was a triggering event which caused me to realize I needed to quit; I was trying to stick it out, thinking it'd get better, but after one particular incident, I'd had enough. I called Marc and told him that absolutely couldn't go back there--and he agreed. When I'd made up my mind that I wasn't going back, it was like a huge weight was lifted--the pit in my stomach was gone, and I knew I'd made the right decision.

I decided not to immediately start looking for work; we can survive on Marc's income, so I'm just taking my time and doing some soul-searching to figure out what the hell I'm supposed to do now. I did go on an interview last Tuesday at a private school in New Orleans, and if the salary's good I will most likely take it.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't upset about all of this--in fact, I'm pissed. I had a good, stable job with a great company (granted, the pay wasn't great and I was bored out of my mind), and I left it to take the GOTR job which was even crappier pay ($11/hr, you guys... but I told myself it was worth it because, DREAM JOB!)... and now I have no job. But, here's the thing...

I'm not a failure. I don't know why this had to happen, but it did. At first, I thought maybe I'm just supposed to be a stay-at-home-mom for a while--which is pretty awesome when the kids are in school :D But the more I think about it, I know I need to get a job sooner rather than later, because we've racked up more debt over the last year than we're comfortable with; if I get a job that pays enough, we could easily knock it out in a year.

Funemployment has been pretty nice; our house is clean, I'm able to cook dinner every night, I'm not exhausted all the time... so yeah, maybe I am just supposed to be a homemaker right now. The kids get out of school next week, so that should be fun...I'll have about a week with them before their summer care starts.

I've lost a few pounds from that 13-lb gain, but it's kind of leveled off... I'm just having a hard time finding my focus again. I'm trying to be kind to myself though, because I've had a lot to deal with. I spend a lot of time reminding myself that this job not working out wasn't my fault, that I'm not worthless. I just want to get my head back in the game and get this weight off.

I do hope to start posting more... thanks for sticking around through my absence. I don't want this blog to die; it's just been hard to find the words to write about this whole ordeal, but today in the middle of eating lunch, the inspiration hit me. So, here's to being more present on this blog!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The struggle

I'm struggling, for real.

Ever since my surgery, I've been eating a bunch of crap. I don't want to cook anything; I can probably count on 1 hand the number of meals I've cooked at home in the last month.

I don't want to exercise.

I don't want to eat anything healthy.

I don't want to blog.

I don't want to clean.

I don't want to do anything.

I think the stress of the post-surgery complications combined with starting the new job really took a toll on me, more than I realized.

But I realize it now.

It's time to move forward. Yes, I'm up a few pounds, but it's a manageable few pounds. It's a setback, not the final word.

So my goal for tomorrow is to go for a 30 minute walk during lunch. I just need to do 1 thing good for myself.

Monday, I'm ready for you.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

When a week turns into a month

Hi! In my last post, I said that was taking a little break, "maybe a week," but somehow that week turned into a whole MONTH. A lot has happened since then--some expected, some unexpected; some good, some not-so-good. Through it all, I have sincerely missed blogging and all of you, but I literally haven't been able to muster the energy to put together a real blog post until now.
  • So, initially, my reason for taking a break from the blog was that I accepted a new job, and didn't want to accidentally spill the beans on the blog before I had a chance to break it to my then-current employer. Well, I've now been at my new job for 2 whole weeks, so I guess it's safe to tell you all about it--I accepted a job with Girls on the Run in New Orleans! I am their Community Outreach and Heart & Sole Program manager, and I couldn't be more thrilled! Heart & Sole is their program for 6-8th graders (which I coached last season), and it's still in its first year so it's a good time for me to come on board. 
  • Well, before I had a chance to start my new job, I started having some major issues with my lap band. I mentioned it a bit in this post, but things really only got worse from there. Reflux meds did diddly-squat, and it had gotten to the point that at times, I couldn't even drink water. I was absolutely miserable--I couldn't eat, couldn't drink, had zero energy, and was getting pretty depressed over it all; the doctor I'd been seeing referred me to an actual surgeon, and the new doctor agreed that it had to come out. The doc performed an endoscopy which confirmed that my band had slipped (meaning it was no longer in the place where it should be), so it really really had to come out; leaving it there would only cause further complications, including the chance of erosion through my stomach lining. Of course, even with all of this evidence, my insurance refused to cover the surgery--to them, just the mere mention of lap band meant that this was elective. We ended up paying cash (er, credit) for the whole thing; it cost around $5800 to remove, much cheaper than I thought it would be... so Marc and I decided that the debt was worth my health and sanity. 
Okay, so I had the surgery on March 11th (Friday), and I was set to start my new job on March 14th (Monday). I've had laparoscopic procedures before, and I never had a problem having surgery on Friday and going back to work on Monday. I thought I'd probably be a little sore, but that's it. Well........ the joke was on me, big time. It started Friday evening, after we got home. I took 1 dose of the L0rt@b, and learned that I should never ever take that again. I had such a horrible reaction; I was completely out of it, and when I tried to get up to go to the bathroom (with Marc's help, of course), I literally stood up and fainted--like, dropped like a rock to the floor. Multiple times. Marc says that I passed out like that probably 5-6 times, and he was ready to call 911 because my eyes were rolling to the back of my head and I was shaking; he did call my doctor (who was kind enough to give me his cell phone #) and had him on the phone late into the night. 
The next day, Saturday, is a complete blur. I literally stayed in bed all day, barely conscious, until it was nighttime. I had an awful, horrible pounding headache, and really just felt like shit. Nothing helped the headache--it sounded like a million hooves marching through my brain in unison--and it actually lasted until Tuesday. (At some point, I figured out that sitting up made the headache go away, so after Sunday I ended up sleeping upright, sitting on the couch, through the following Friday.)
Early Tuesday morning, like 3am, I got up because I just couldn't take the pounding in my head anymore. Marc got up with me and ran a bath, thinking that might relieve some of the pressure--at that point, we noticed that some bruising had developed on my abdomen, starting from my incisions around my belly button and wrapping around my left side to my back. By Tuesday evening, the bruising had spread and the area between my waist and hip on my left side was completely dark purple. (In case you're wondering, I did start my job on Monday as planned--I looked and felt like death warmed over, but I went!)
My doctor had me come in on Wednesday (16th) and ran some blood work; turns out, my hematocrit (percentage of actual red blood cells in blood) was down to 20%; pre-surgery, it was a nice, healthy 42%. I'd lost half of my blood volume somewhere along the way (probably sloshing around in my abdomen). My doctor was pretty stumped as to what caused it (though I have a feeling that my fainting on that previous Friday didn't help anything), which isn't really what you want to hear! I felt so absolutely horrible; I got winded just walking across a parking lot--forget going up and down stairs! I was nauseous, my head hurt, and I was incredibly pale; many people pointed out that my lips were the color of my face (thanks, guys!). However, it wasn't really worth the risk to give me blood, so my doc thought it best to just let my blood come back on its own, which would take around a month. Ugh
So, March 20-21, I was supposed to go to Dallas for a National Training with GOTR. Thanks to my newfound health issues, I wasn't allowed to fly or drive that distance by myself, so I had the wonderful experience of taking a Greyhound bus to Dallas! It's about 8 hours by standard car, but with Greyhound, it's a lovely 12-hour trip. I don't really want to dwell on it, but let's just say that it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, I met lots of interesting people, and it's something that I can now cross off the bucket list ;) 
Slowly but surely, I'm feeling a little bit better every day. Today, just over 2 weeks post-surgery, I actually feel pretty good. I still get worn out faster than I used to, but the headaches and nausea are gone (mostly), and I can sleep in my bed again. I'm also still a tad pale, but nothing like I was a week ago. I'm taking an iron supplement to help my blood production--I'm not sure if it's really helping, but I gotta do what I can! I also was not able to run or even walk the Crescent City Classic yesterday, which was supposed to be my first 10K; however, I worked at GOTR's table and cheered on the runners that I saw! 

  • A couple of other good things that have happened over the last month--I reached 60 pounds down the week before my surgery!!! Of course, I'm carrying quite a bit of post-surgery bloat and fluid, and bit a true weight gain I'm sure, but it'll come off in no time. 
  • Remember how Marc and I were going through the RCIA classes (briefly mentioned here)? Well, now we are officially Catholic! We were confirmed at last night's Easter vigil, and it was pretty amazing. 
Sunrise coming into New Orleans, on the bus from Dallas; the return trip was 7pm to 7am!

My last run before surgery

Going across the Causeway, a 24-mile bridge across Lake Pontchartrain; it's the world's longest bridge over a body of water!

We're Catholic!
It's been a busy, crazy, topsy-turvy month, but I'm back. It's time to remember my goals and make blogging a priority again--and boy, do I have some blog reading to catch up on! What have you been up to since we last chatted?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Taking a break

You may have noticed (or maybe you haven't) that I haven't been blogging very much the last couple of weeks. There's been a lot going on, and it's hard to blog when you can't talk about certain BIG things that are happening.

Because of this, I've decided to take a little blogging break. Nothing huge, just a week probably--but I really feel like I need to remove the pressure of feeling like I HAVE to blog while I sort out some other things that are happening.

Don't worry--these are GOOD things that are happening, and I absolutely cannot wait to spill the beans to you all!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

10K Training Tuesday (on a Wednesday... again) - Week 5

Haha, well, here's another another 10K Training "Tuesday" (on a Wednesday) for ya.

Tuesday: NOTHING
Wednesday: NOTHING
Thursday: NOTHING
Saturday: NOTHING
Sunday: 4.5 miles, 2:1 intervals, 14:48 overall pace

So as you can see, it's not like I have a whole lot to report about last week's training. Considering my utter lack of activity all week, I was a little nervous about Sunday's long run. However, it ended up being an absolutely GORGEOUS morning and I had a FABULOUS run!

I seriously felt great throughout the entire run; my legs started getting tired toward the end, but I powered through because I really wanted all my miles under 15 minutes--and I did it! Just look at those splits:

I'm not counting the last half-mile in my "all miles under 15 minutes," just FYI :) I love how mile 4 was juuuuuust under the 15-minute mark. Anyway.

Just 5 and a half weeks until my 10K!

Also, there's still time to help me raise money to support Girls on the Run New Orleans. I've reached my goal of $1000--but you can definitely still donate via my fundraising page! (I may raise that goal again, but I haven't decided yet.)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Weigh in (2/13) + Star Wars Birthday party!

I had another great weigh in this week:

Down another 2.4 lbs! Of course, I probably put it all back on over the weekend, but we'll see :) 

This was a pretty big weekend for us... Ryan's birthday, my dad and step-mom came to visit, and our RCIA Rite of Election happened. We were busy! 

The visit with my dad went really well; Friday night, we went to the Lenten Fish Fry at the kids' school, Saturday was Ryan's party and then Parkway Bakery (our favorite place as of late) for dinner, and Sunday we got up and went to the Ruby Slipper for brunch. We were so busy, that's really all we had time to do! 

Sunday's Rite of Election was pretty neat; we went to St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter with all of the other RCIA candidates under the New Orleans Archdiocese and met the Archbishop. Despite there being hundreds of people that were individually called to go up and shake hands, the whole thing was done in less than 2 hours. My only regret is that we didn't take a photo with Marc's grandparents (they're our sponsors--kind of like godparents for us, since we're converting from a different Christian denomination); we all were dressed up and it completely slipped my mind! 

So now, what you really care about--Ryan's EPIC Star Wars birthday party! I'm just going to give a rundown of everything, but let me know if you'd like any more info about any part of it and I'll make another post that goes into more detail! 

First things first, the cake--I baked a super fudgy chocolate cake from scratch, and make the buttercream frosting from scratch as well. The cake itself wasn't awesome (it wasn't bad, but it's not the perfect recipe I've been searching for), but the frosting was absolutely perfect; super smooth and not too gritty or sweet. Marc helped me by outlining the design with a toothpick, and he also did the writing. 

Decorations! I brought the balloons (including giant R2D2) and favor bags, but the facility did all of the other decorations! I was extremely pleased with how everything turned out. 

I took this after the party, hence the sad state of the food. We provided Yoda :D
Getting ready to sing; printable on favor bags here
Helping him blow out his candles
Of course we all wore Star Wars shirts!
I'm super pleased with how everything turned out; I literally could not have asked for it to go more smoothly! 

Happy Birthday, Ry-Ry!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

What's in a picture?

Earlier this week, one of my Facebook friends "liked" a photo of me from 2010. I thought, "Ugh, I hate that picture. She must be going through my photos," and didn't think much else of it.

The next day, someone else liked that photo. I thought, "Great, she must have seen that so-and-so liked it. Stupid Facebook!"

A few days later, another person liked it.

And then another.

And then another.

And then I closed my eyes and prayed that no one else would see it. 

Beijing, China; I don't know my exact weight, but I know I was close to 300 pounds.
You see, this photo, it's more than just a picture. It digs at me, reminding me of my former self, how I wore my misery on my body for everyone to see.

It taunts me, causing me to question the progress I've made, leaving me to wonder why people are actually "liking" this photo.

Do I still look like that? 

Is that really how people perceive me? 

I thought I looked pretty good these days... but maybe that picture is the reality.

I took it to my Lovely Ladies Facebook group to hash out my feelings about it, and upon further reflection, it came down to this:
I think I'm really more worried that people are liking this photo because they think I still look like that. I really hope not, but my disordered brain still wonders, "do I look like that still? Is that how others perceive me?" It's messed up thinking, I know, and I'm fairly confident that I DON'T look like that anymore... like, I feel like I look pretty good, but I wonder, do others still see me as a fat blob? I know when I was at my heaviest, I didn't think I looked that big... but now I look at pictures from that time and I think, "Daaang, I can't believe I let myself get to that point."
And then, brilliant Anna suggested I take a current photo and make a side-by-side pic to prove the change to my brain, so I did. I had my coworker take a photo of me this morning, and I forced those disordered thoughts to go back to where the sun don't shine (or something like that... you know what I mean):

Left: size 3X top, 24W pants / Right: plain old XL

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

10K Training Tuesday (on a Wednesday) - Week 4

Apologies for failing to post this yesterday--it was Mardi Gras here in New Orleans, and it completely slipped my mind!

Anyway, here's how the last week of training went:

Monday: Nothing, again. Mondays are tough!
Tuesday: 30 minutes with 2:1 intervals; 15:52 overall pace
Wednesday: Attempted speed work, but cut short due to horrible thigh pain
Thursday: Rest to allow thigh to recover
Friday: 30 minutes with 2:1 intervals; 15:12 overall pace
Saturday: Nothing; Endymion parade festivities all day!
Sunday: 4.5 mile run, 2:1 intervals; 15:38 overall pace

I still haven't managed to follow my training plan exactly, but I'm still pleased with last week's effort.

I was pretty bummed about Wednesday; I was excited to do my speed work, but about 3 minutes in, I got this horrible pain in my right thigh/groin area. I tried to walk it out, but nothing helped. It didn't hurt when I was just walking, but as soon as I'd try to run, the pain was excruciating. It still hurt a bit the next day, so I opted to just let it rest for another day. Fortunately, it felt fine on Friday and I had a great run!

As I wrote on Monday, Saturday was spent with Endymion festivities all day. Even though I only drank about half a beer all day, the entire day just wore me out and I felt like utter doodoo when I woke up on Sunday morning. I contemplated putting the run off until later in the day, but I knew it wouldn't happen at all if I did that, so I sucked it up and just went for it. It was in the 40's on Sunday morning (freezing to me!) so I had on a long-sleeve tech shirt, thin running jacket, and a hat with my Go Warm running tights (love Old N@vy!). Of course, it was a beautiful day and the sun was out full force, so within about 10 minutes I'd removed my hat and jacket and pushed up my sleeves. I hate running with my jacket around my waist, so I put the hat and jacket on a bench and hoped no one would take them.

The first 2 miles were seriously a test of my will--I absolutely wanted to quit! I knew that I'd be pissed at myself if I gave up though, so I trudged forward and didn't worry about how fast or slow I was moving. The point was just to get the distance! I finally started to feel better around the 2 mile point though, and the last couple of miles went by much quicker. Check out my splits!

As you can see, my pace picked up as I felt better; Mile 4 is slower because I walked through a couple of run intervals, but my legs were just tired. I probably could have run them if I'd really tried, though it would have been slooooow.

All in all, I'm pleased with how my training is going so far. Looking forward to this week!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Weigh In (2/6) + Mardi Gras time!

First things first, I had a great weigh in this week...

I'm creeping closer and closer to 60 pounds lost! I'm really feeling some momentum, and I'm starting to truly believe that this is the year I will finally see ONEderland (weight in the 100's) again, and reach my goal weight (still yet to be determined).

Karinne's wagon parade on Friday was soooo cute! The parade was made up of Pre-K4 and Kindergarten students, and their 6th/7th grade buddies pulled their wagons. Man, some of the parents really went all out on the floats! Like, they actually BUILT things, and used things like papier mache! Some of them really had to get creative if they didn't have a wagon (I assume), because there were kids in wheelbarrows, boxes build on to hand trucks... it was awesome! I went to Party City and bought a bunch of Mardi Gras decorations and Marc decorated her wagon with that stuff.

Karinne in her wagon
Coming around the bend!
Being silly after the parade

Saturday was Samedi Gras, aka the Saturday before Mardi Gras, aka Endymion Saturday! As I said in my post on Friday, it's the largest Mardi Gras parade and we're fortunate that we live only a block from the route; we're also fairly close to the start of it, so we don't have to wait too long for it to get to us. I made some really healthy dishes (NOT!)--Rotel cheese dip with sausage, and Ooey Gooey Bars. I added chocolate chips to half the pan of bars, and man--that was good. It was my first time making them, and the directions really stressed the importance of not overbaking, so I ended up slightly underbaking them. They were just extra gooey ;) We invited a few friends over who we met through daycare and school, and we ran into another school friend who happened to be at another party across the street from us!

The best time of year for a NOLA kid!
The parade lasted about 3 hours, and the kids had a blast! This is the first year we were able to stay for the entire parade; in the past, the kids have always gotten way too exhausted to finish it. They got tons of beads and blinky toys; Ryan got a really awesome sword, but on our way home he tripped and smacked his head on the pavement, thus dropping it. We forgot about it until we got home; Marc went back to see if it was maybe still in the road, but it was gone. (Ryan's OK, by the way!)

I didn't take a single picture of the actual parade this year, so here are a couple of pictures from Endymion 2014. The Lead float is the same, and you get an idea of how extravagant the floats are; I should work on taking more photos!

Sunday morning, we took it easy. Marc and I were super sore from holding the kids on our shoulders for so long, plus just standing up for most of the day. I did manage to get in my 4.5 mile long run though!

FYI, we are off work tomorrow for actual Mardi Gras day, so expect more Mardi Gras pictures later this week!

How was your weekend?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Thoughts - Mardi Gras Edition

First of all, thank you all for your sweet comments on yesterday's post. They definitely made a dreary day a little sunnier.

Secondly... it's Friday! It's not just any Friday, either... it's the Friday before Mardi Gras!!!! You know what that means? It means I get to show up at work like this...

So, in case you don't know... Mardi Gras is kind of a big deal in New Orleans. For the last 2 weeks, there have been like a bajillion parades; honestly, we don't go to too many because we have little kids and parading is a lot of work when you have little ones. The parades are put on by different "krewes", aka groups of people that have paid a lot of money to get to ride on a float and throw stuff at people.

The largest (and best) parade is the Endymion parade, and the Krewe of Endymion is considered a "super krewe"--they have over 3000 members! It's HUGE, and we are fortunate enough to live right on the parade route! The parade is tomorrow afternoon, but yesterday, there were already tarps and chairs and other items claiming space along the route. Technically, someone is suppose to stay with their stuff so the police don't remove it, but the police never seem to be that serious about it (honestly, the NOPD has much bigger things to worry about); it's pretty nuts!

So tomorrow our street turns into a big block party and there will be hot dogs and hamburgers, spiral sliced ham and jambalaya, beaucoup sausage, chicken... and sides and sweets and beer galore. I haven't decided what I'm bringing yet; last year I made kind of a tex-mex black bean and tomato salad, but no one really ate it. Apparently, healthy food doesn't go over so well at these things ;) I'll probably end up making ooey gooey bars and buffalo chicken dip or something. We'll see! (And I'll be sure to post some pictures on Monday!)

Karinne is also having her "wagon parade" at school today; we decorated her wagon like a Mardi Gras parade float, and her 6th grade buddy will pull the wagon while she throws beads and other items to the students and parents. Only PreK-4 and Kindergarten make wagons, so there should be quite a few people watching! I'm taking a half-day from work so I can watch it; there's also no aftercare today, so I'll be taking the kids home at normal dismissal time. I swear, the day feels so much longer when I can get the kids at 3 instead of 5:30!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

February 4, 2008

Eight years ago today, we buried my mother in the ground. She died on January 31, 2008, after suffering a massive heart attack on January 18. I don't know if she knew she was having one, but she knew something wasn't right because my dad took her to their local hospital's ER. Unfortunately, their staff must not have recognized the signs of heart attack in women because after sitting for an hour without anyone talking to her, they decided it must not be serious and went back home. On January 19, they called an ambulance and went to UAB Hospital, 45 minutes away; they knew it was serious. My dad called us around midnight and told us that she'd had a heart attack and we should get to the hospital. A few hours later, she went in for open heart surgery and that was the last time I ever got to hear her voice. On January 31, my family made the hardest decision of our lives and chose to turn off the machines that were sustaining her life.

The first (and only) time the kids visited her grave. We moved to New Orleans a short time later.
I've written something every year since then to commemorate my mom; the post below is my favorite, written for my old blog 6 years ago, 2 years after her death.
"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother."

Abraham Lincoln said that (according to the Internet anyway). It's so true.

This entry has absolutely nothing to do with Korea. It's really a pretty selfish entry, if you must know.  Tomorrow it will be 2 years since my mother was buried; I really can't believe how quickly the time has passed. (Doesn't that sound cliche'?) I debated whether or not I would write anything, but I think she deserves some mention.

My mom was really goofy. Some people have trendy mothers, some people have old-fashioned mothers, and some people have soccer moms. Mine was all 3, with a dash of Rose from the Golden Girls. The older I get, the more I realize how fortunate I was to have the mother I had. She truly was my best friend.

The stories. Ooooooohhhhhh, the stories my family can share about my mom! I remember being in college and my parents took my best friend (at that time) and I to Six Flags in Atlanta; on the way home we stopped at IHOP for a late night dinner. My family has always had this strange fascination with bodily noises, and such stories inevitably came up during dinner conversation. I remember the four of us laughing SO hard, tears rolling down our faces, just telling fart stories. Yes, I said it--fart stories. I'll refrain from telling the actual stories themselves, because I'm pretty sure Mom would be pretty angry if I told the whole Internet world about her *ahem* fluffles.

And what about the flat tire story? Remember when Mom was driving me and Bethany down the interstate and we got a flat tire in the van? It was like 10 o'clock at night and she was POSITIVE that nobody would help us because she didn't have her nails on? And then she was worried that we would roll down the embankment so we all had to huddle on the left side of the van? *cue Rachel's terrible Bronx accent imitation*

Oh, and what about UAB Day (wasn't that it?) when Dad decided it was a good idea for mom to drive downtown and she turned left into oncoming traffic? Rachel (I think?) and me and Dad we all screaming for our lives, and all she could say was, "What? What's the big deal?"

I really miss her advice sometimes. She always warned me about certain people in my life growing up, but I never believed her. I always told her she just didn't understand. Years later, when the day finally came that I learned she was right, she never said, "I told you so." All she said was, "To hell with them," and took me to Starbucks.

She never tried to be my friend. She was always my mother. She always told me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. And she was persistent. Relentless, even. I'm so grateful for that. I hope I'm as good a mom to my kids. 

Pregnant with yours truly!

My birth day

College graduation

Her goofy side

My wedding day

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

10K Training Tuesday - Week 3

Here we are, 3 weeks into training for my first 10K! Last week was definitely better than the previous week:

Monday: Nothing; I had good intentions, but it just didn't happen.
Tuesday: 25 minutes with 1.5:1 intervals; 15:52 overall pace
Wednesday: 20 minutes speed work (run fast 20 seconds, walk 1 minute); 13:55 overall pace
Thursday: 30 minute walk with Marc
Friday: Nothing
Saturday: 30 minute bike ride
Sunday: 4 mile run, 2:1 intervals; 15:44 overall pace

One thing I'm learning is that I'm a lot slower in the morning! My first week of speed work I did in the morning, and I was super sluggish; my overall pace was around 17 minutes. Last week, I did it after work, and I felt so much lighter--springy, even!

The 4 miles on Sunday was the farthest I've ever run at once; I really need to start incorporating more strength training, because legs were exhausted. I also have to hydrate better; I've been terrible at drinking water for the last couple of weeks and I'm sure that contributed to the leg fatigue.

I also think I pulled a hamstring or something, because the back of my left thigh is SO sore. It hurts to sit down too long at work. I rested yesterday to give it a chance to heal, which helped a ton, and it feels much better today.

Any tips or suggestions for me? Do you notice you run slower/faster at different times of day?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Weigh In (1/30) + Weekend update

Well, another weekend has come and gone... they always go by so fast! We had another taste of springtime weather--I'm ready for it to be spring for real!

I was up 2 pounds at Saturday's weigh in; I can totally blame Aunt Flo for that one, as she made a surprise visit yesterday when I wasn't expecting her for at least another week! For the record, I really don't like her. At least that explains why all I wanted was junk food for the last week!

I got my RoadID on Friday; I'm so excited! It fits on my FitBit, so I don't have to wear yet ANOTHER bracelet (I already feel silly when I wear my FitBit and my Garmin when I run.)

"As long as it takes" is my weight loss AND running mantra; I'm slow at both ;)
On Saturday, we went to the zoo with the kids and Marc's parents, and later we went out for super tasty dinner at Brigtsen's. Why does food have to be so delicious?! After that it was nap time, and I took the opportunity to venture out with my bike all by myself; New Orleans drivers are kinda crazy, and several cyclists are killed each year. However, I pulled up my big girl pants and rode to the library to return some books, and then down Esplanade Avenue to CC's Coffee to enjoy a few quiet moments. 

Sitting in front of CC's where I could keep an eye on my bike and enjoy the view
Sunday marked 8 years since my mom died. It was easier this year than it has been, but either way I knew I wanted to get out and enjoy the day. So I got up and did my 4-mile run that was scheduled (my longest run to date!), then Marc and I took the kids to their Great-Grammy's house to hang out with Marc's parents and grandparents while we went to Mass. They live about 3/4 of mile from the church, so we decided to walk since the weather was so nice. For the record, we do typically take the kids with us to Mass, but our RCIA class now dismisses just before Communion and we go talk about the service; the kids are way too distracting and make it difficult to get anything out of the dismissal so they probably won't be coming to Mass with us again until Easter.

Later in the day, we loaded the kids into the bike trailer and took a ride around town and then to eat dinner at Parkway Bakery. It's SO YUMMY. I love their gumbo and fried pickles. I could probably eat that every day and never get sick of it.

I wound up getting a TON of exercise on Sunday, and was just under 20,000 steps for the day!

How was your weekend? Do you have a FitBit? Let's connect! My email address for FitBit is christina.prados at gmail dot com.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Thoughts

It's been a while since I did a Friday "rambling" type post, and I feel like it's long overdue.

  • A friend of mine has challenged me to limit myself to 1 "treat" per day for a week. Yesterday was the first day, and I succeeded! I planned to get a frozen coffee drink from CC's Coffee (I love theirs more than Starbucks!) before heading to RCIA class, and that's just what I did. Day 1 conquered, on to Day 2!
  • I found a new favorite dressing - OPA (by Litehouse Foods) Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing. You guys, this is the best ranch dressing I've ever had (even better than the Bolthouse Farms yogurt ranch!). I've also tried the Jalapeno Ranch by OPA--it's pretty amazing too. You won't find this dressing in the regular salad dressing aisle; it's refrigerated, usually found in the produce section.
  • I went to the doctor a few days ago because I'd been having issues with my empty lap band; basically even though there's nothing in it, I still have problems eating food. I told him I didn't have reflux, but then he was pressing on my stomach and I felt pain in my chest. When I told him this, he was like, "Christina, that's reflux." I said, "Oh. I guess I don't know what reflux feels like after all!" Right now, he's thinking that the reflux is causing inflammation in my esophagus, thus making it harder for food to pass through the empty band. He put me on THREE reflux meds for the the next 3 weeks, and then we'll re-evaluate. If nothing else, I've started a paper trail that maybe will one day lead to insurance paying for the removal. 
  • Cancer sucks. Marc's best friend from high school and college was recently diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer, and a good friend of mine from high school's 4-yr-old son has been diagnosed with Stage 3 neuroblastoma (his little body is riddled with tumors). I'm just tired of hearing about so many people who've been diagnosed. Good vibes and prayers are much appreciated.
  • Marc's parents are in town this weekend. Today is Grandparents Day at the kids' school, so they came to do that. We always have such a good time when they visit; I'm truly blessed in the in-law department! Speaking of the weekend, the weather for the next few days is going to be fantastic! 
  • I've increased my Girls on the Run fundraising goal for the Crescent City Classic to $1000! I'm so grateful to everyone who's already donated. Your donations will help Girls on the Run do so much for the girls in New Orleans, from buying snacks and t-shirts for practices, to providing running shoes for girls who need them and paying program fees for those who cannot pay. Girls on the Run does not turn anyone away based on their inability to pay! Here's the direct link to my fundraising page, and I also added a widget on my sidebar that you can click on.
What do you have planned for this weekend?